Globally, ecommerce is worth trillions.
With the fast expansion of retail into the digital space came the need for cloud-based technology to support it, and experts ready to adapt.
Accounting is no different.
In fact, Sage has already discussed why accountants are often the experts that business owners turn to in times of change and uncertainty, and how accountants can use technology to keep their clients on top.
But what about new clients?
How does this changing landscape affect your growth strategy? Do you need to behave differently in order to surf these changing tides, too?
In this article, we cover the following:
- The changing relationship between accountants and their clients.
- How to find today’s clients online and scale up your accountancy business.
- A simple sales funnel that you can implement to help you grow.
Client-accountant relationships: A long-term affair
Not only does it ensure accuracy and consistency, but it frees up accountants to offer more to their clients than perhaps they could in the past. It doesn’t just save time for business owners, it saves you time as well.
And time is money.
With the crunching and reporting largely taken care of, you can get to the juicy stuff. Strategising and helping your clients to prosper.
This is where the human value comes in.
You can offer your clients that next level of service: your years of experience, skills and intuition, tailored to their business. This is the gold dust that they are after now. Gold dust that can’t be automated or replaced by an app.
So with that shift in demand comes the need for a shift in your service offering.
At A2X, we have found that our accounting partners are beginning to offer more comprehensive solutions, often coupled with retainers over hourly rates.
These better reflect the style of relationship they now have with their ecommerce clients: a longer-term partnership.
Many of them have also chosen a niche to specialise in. With ecommerce in particular, there are so many avenues from which customers could come to an accountant for help.
The nature of ecommerce platforms differ greatly, so to offer clients the most value, accountants are honing in on specific areas.
With an agile, in-depth knowledge base being the key unique selling point clients are looking for today, focusing your upskilling in one area is smart. You can build a loyal client base and tailor your services to them.
New clients are likely looking for a more permanent accounting solution. So before you find them, make sure you have the right service offering structure to cater to their needs.
Finding today’s clients and getting them onboard
While there are many different ways to attract new clients, it is important to make sure that you have a robust framework for growth. Enter: the sales funnel.
By following this sales funnel model, you can appropriately obtain, warm up and ideally convert your leads seamlessly.
Sales funnels for accountants
Sales funnels have existed long before the internet, it’s just that they are codified now. Think about how you have attracted clients in the past. It’s not a question of approaching a stranger on the street – there’s some strategy behind it.
Firstly, you need to attract leads. Whether that’s through networking, word of mouth, advertising or other methods (which we discuss below).
At the top of the funnel, you are building awareness and interest.
Then, you need to prove to them that you have what it takes. You might do this via educational content on your website, testimonials, case studies or even a free consultation.
In the middle of the funnel, you want to prompt their decision to interact with you.
Finally, you want to convert them to clients and seal the deal. This might be quoting up your services for them, proposing how you would work with them and showing them how future-focused you are on their business.
At the bottom of the funnel, you are convincing them to act and hire your services.
When we talk about sales funnels, we’re simply bringing what you’re already doing to the online space, so that you can reach a wider audience with less running around.
Growth, here we come.
Stage 1: Attracting leads
Finding new clients has always been a matter of visibility, but what does this mean in today’s world?
Well, it still means placing yourself where your potential customers are, but these places have changed drastically.
Ask yourself these questions and think about the prompts below them:
Where will I find them or they find me? Examples are:
- Social media platforms
- Facebook groups
- Networking events
- Organic traffic
After we’ve found each other, what will I show them? Examples are:
- High-value content: What would my customers be interested in?
- Messaging: What’s my USP and how will I share it with them?
- Resources: Can I offer any free/educational resources that would bring people to my website, or lead magnets which they could download and refer back to?
After I’ve shown them something, where will I send them?
- My website. Things to consider: is my site ready for these types of clients and their needs? Does it answer their questions or concerns? Can they find my contact information easily?
You might have some of these bases covered but not all, so think about how you can cast your net wider and what you would like an interaction via these channels to look like. After all, attracting clients and optimising your sales funnel can make all the difference to your practice.
Stage 2: Building credibility
The proof stage.
You have earned a lead and now you need to show them how perfectly suited you are to their needs, and those of today’s marketplace.
This is where you demonstrate how well you already understand their problems and have the solutions ready to go.
Reviews and case studies are powerful tools for building credibility. A review is usually a brief summary of a current or past client’s experience with you, and a case study is the next layer of detail.
Here’s an example. In an A2X case study, we broke down the experience of one of our clients from the challenges that brought them to us, our solution for them and the results of that solution.
By breaking this down into a journey, potential customers can see the mechanics of our product in real-world applications, step-by-step, with direct quotes from the client – pure transparency.
This level of reassurance is invaluable for clients wanting similar outcomes.
And remember to get creative where you can. The ways that people consume content are constantly changing, and video is predicted to account for 82% of internet traffic by 2022.
Why not try an interview style with a happy client, or a montage of testimonials?
Finally, bear in mind that recent reviews are the best. As the industry evolves, so will your clients’ needs and your service offering, so keeping examples of your work fresh is key.
By doing this, you can prove how adaptable and reliable you are.
Now that you have some hot leads keen to talk to you, you have a chance to showcase what the working relationship would be like. Give them a taster.
Clients today want quality, fast. You need to show your clients that:
- You are readily available to them and easily reachable.
- You are prepared for them when you meet or call, well researched and proactive.
- You are tech savvy and ahead of the automation game.
That last one is key.
This will be a tell for consumers as to whether you are cut out to help them thrive in a tech-driven environment.
If you don’t have that expertise, you are only solving part of their accounting problems.
It’s all about adaptability and innovation in today’s accounting world.
Clients have the number crunching covered. What they want from you is the human touch, enhanced by the best that modern technology has to offer. If you can nail this, your new-age growth strategy is sure to see results.
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